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A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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  Jim Grant's Tech TipsJim Grant's Tech Tips
Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by ALLDATAdiy.com users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.
 
 

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  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

'00 Ford Contour SE, High Speed Stalling

Q: I recently purchased a 2000 Ford Contour SE (now at 40k). Within a month of the purchase, the car began to sputter when pressing the accelerator at highway speeds (60-70mph). At one point, the engine stalled. The only difference on that occasion was that the defroster was running. After pulling over, the car immediately started again and I was able to get home. There have been no further stalls, only power fluctuations when accelerating at high speed. A mechanic read the codes and pending codes, which indicated a problem in the fuel system, but they were not specific. Rather than replace expensive parts, he suggested I drive it further until the problem happens again. I am considering buying an Autotap to monitor the OBDII data the car is providing, but do not know what to look for (fuel pressure/mixture, etc...). Any suggestions on repairs to look at or OBDII data to examine would be very helpful. With the tap, I will be able to monitor the data at highway speed, which I do not think the mechanic did......Ryan

A: I’m not familiar with the Autotap but if it is a data reader (computer scan tool of sorts) it is a tool to provide direction in solving your problem. The data that I would watch for first would be of the oxygen sensor. Because your vehicle has 2 sensors the one you want to watch is sensor # 1. Sensor #1 is the first sensor the exhaust passes over. Sensor #2 is after the converter. The #2 sensor is primarily used by the computer for converter efficiency monitoring. The value displayed will be in millivolts (mv) and will range from .000 to a high of about .999. That is the range only, in reality it will be between .100 to .900 . The next question is how can these numbers help diagnose your problem? It’s simple, really. Any number displayed over .450 mv means there is enough fuel. A number displayed under .450 mv means there’s not enough. When watching the oxygen sensor data you will notice that the numbers go up and down (above and below .450 mv) at a fairly quick rate. This is a good thing. It means the computer is working correctly. It’s when the number stops switching is when there is a problem. If the voltage readings of the O2 sensor drop that means (in most cases) there is not enough fuel. Sort of like running out of gas. From your description it is likely that you’ll see the O2 sensor voltage drop when the vehicle is acting up. If this is the case, then there may be a fuel supply problem. One word of warning. Watching a vehicle’s computer data can be dangerous. Why? Let’s put it this way. On more than one occasion a tech has driven into something while watching the computer information and not the road. So scan with care or get a co-pilot!

 
     
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